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Life-changing gifts

charity imageLooking for ideas for Christmas gifts for friends, family or business relations? Break out of the fruitcake, desk calendar and mugs-with-candy rut and give a gift that will change someone’s life. Here are some of my favorites, in alphabetical order.

Casa de Fe

Home for abandoned, mostly special-needs children in Shell, Ecuador. Casa de Fe provides love, education and medical care for these children. Donate to the general fund, or sponsor special projects. Visit the site to meet the children and provide Christmas gifts for them. Casa de Fe is a small, local organization but its finances are administered by Cornerstone International, and its budget is published on its website.

Compassion International

Provides education and medical to children and their families all over the world through sponsorship. Make a one-time donation or sponsor a child.84 cents of every dollar is spent on its programs and it has received the highest rating from Charity Navigators 12 years in a row.

Doctors Without Borders

Doctors and nurses volunteer all over the world to provide medical care to those most in need. Make a one-time donation or become a monthly donor. 86 cents of every dollar is spent on its programs and it has an “A” rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy.

Translators without Borders

Through this platform, translators volunteer their services for charitable organizations such as Doctors without Borders and others that focus on health, nutrition and education, allowing critical information to reach people in their own language. Financial transparency is a guiding principle, and specific financial details are published on their website.

World Vision


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a child or visit the catalog for gifts that help families become self-sufficient. You could buy chickens that will provide eggs to eat and to sell, or a share of a cow, or medical packages; the options are creative and endless. 16 cents of every dollar is spent on administration, and of the other 84 cents, 24 cents is invested to acquire 70 cents’ worth of large corporate, private and government donations. In other words, every donated dollar brings in $1.30 worth of value. World vision is accountable to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and Charity Navigator.